Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: applications of stem cells – an update
Lidia Cova1, Vincenzo Silani2
1Department of Neurology and Laboratory of Neuroscience, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milano, Italy; 2Department of Neurology and Laboratory of Neuroscience, “Dino Ferrari” Center, Università degli Studi di Milano, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milano, Italy
Abstract: Neurodegenerative diseases are a growing public health challenge, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) remains a fatal incurable disease. The advent of stem cell therapy has opened new horizons for both researchers and ALS patients, desperately looking for a treatment. ALS must be considered a systemic disease affecting many cell phenotypes besides motor neurons, even outside the central nervous system. Cell replacement therapy needs to address the specific neurobiological issues of ALS to safely and efficiently reach clinical settings. Moreover, the enormous potential of induced pluripotent cells directly derived from patients for modeling and understanding the pathological mechanisms, in correlation with the discoveries of new genes and animal models, provides new opportunities that need to be integrated with previously described transplantation strategies. Finally, a careful evaluation of preclinical data in conjunction with wary patient choice in clinical trials needs to be established in order to generate meaningful results.
Keywords: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, regenerative medicine, stem cell therapy, clinical trials
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